How to Safely Fall Off Your Horse

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No one wants to fall off their horse but if you ride, accidents can happen.  If you do fall off your horse, you want to make sure that you do not get hurt. 

 In this article, you can learn how to do it safely

Falling Off Your Horse

Even when riding the most gentle, well-trained horse, there is a chance you could fall off.  When you do fall off your horse, you want to do it safely and without injuries but sometimes that is not possible.  Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid a fall when you are riding.

It is an acquired skill to fall off your horse correctly.  If you fall, you should be relaxed enough that you go with the fall and when you land, you just roll to your feet.

Why You Might Fall Off a Horse

  • The horse spooks or trips
  • It is being naughty or gets excited and bucks you off
  • There is a fence the horse refuses to jump over it but you fly over it.
  • The horse over-jumps a fence and you get thrown out of the saddle
  • The horse turns or stops suddenly

Avoiding The Fall

To help minimize your chances of falling off your horse, here are some things you can do.

  • Make sure that the horse you are riding matches your skill level.
  • Ride in an environment that also matches your level of skill.
  • Although you want to enjoy the ride and looking at the area where you are riding, you should always ride with awareness.  If you see something that might spook your horse, you can divert the horse’s attention to try to prevent a fall.
  • You should always be in control, not your horse when you ride
  • The saddle should fit you with the stirrups adjusted to the correct length.  Make sure that you keep the right position in the saddle.
  • The cinch or girth should be tight enough that the saddle does not turn or slide to the side.
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Preparing For The Fall

Before you go for a ride, you should make sure that you are prepared for a fall, just in case it happens.  It is best to be prepared and not fall than to fall and not be prepared.  You should wear boots with a one-inch heel with cages on your stirrups or safety stirrups, an ASTM approved helmet, and a crash vest if you want.  This will give your torso extra protection.  You should also wear gloves so you can hold onto the reins better and to protect your hands.

What to do When You Fall

1. The Reins

You are going to fall and you are not sure what to do with the reins.  Do you let them go or hold onto them?  You only have seconds to decide.  If you are out on the trail, you might try to hold onto them so the horse does not get loose.  You might consider holding onto the reins if anyone else is on the trail, it could endanger your horse if you don’t, or the horse could be hit by a car if you have crossed roads.  

Sometimes there is no time to decide and you just do it automatically; hold on or let go.  If your horse is bucking or bolting, it is best to let go of the reins so you are not entangled in them or being dragged.  There is also a chance if you hold onto the reins that you could get a dislocated shoulder.  

girl fall off horse

2. How to Fall

If you know you are going to fall, try to kick your feet out of the stirrups.  You do not want to land up dangling upside with your face near their hooves.  If they are spooked and start to run, you could be seriously injured if your feet or foot is caught in the stirrup.

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Once you fall, try to make sure that you roll out of the way of the horse’s hooves.  Do not stick out your arms to break your fall, although that is an immediate reaction to do so.  If you do stick out your arms, you could have a part sticking out that a horse could step on, or you break a bone when you fall.  

If possible try curling up in as much of a ball as you can. Tuck your arms in close, touch your chin to your chest, and aim to hit the ground with the backside of your shoulder.

3. After The Fall

After falling and getting out of the way of the horse, give yourself a minute to get your wind back and then do a mental assessment to see if anything hurts you.  If nothing seems to be hurting, get back to your feet and get back in the saddle.  This will help to reassure your horse and anyone riding with you that you are okay and ready to continue the ride.

If you think something is wrong, or you are feeling pain, ask for help immediately.  You should stay still until you are checked out. You don’t want to make an injury worse because you moved.


  • Most falls involve going over the neck of the horse and the second way is off the side.  Backward is the least way to fall.
  • If you become unseated, do not stick out your arms or legs because when you fall, you are sure to break a bone or possibly get stepped on by the horse.
  • Roll away from the horse so they do not fall on you or step on you when they are running away or getting up.
  • It is a good idea to have a cell phone with you in case you fall and need to contact someone.  Your stable number and emergency number should be programmed into the phone to make it easier to call for help.  Carry your phone on your body and not in the saddle.  It will do you know good if the horse runs off with it.
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